Connection between Cholesterol and Testosterone Levels

Connection between Cholesterol and Testosterone Levels

Cholesterol has received bad press in the past, but without it, your body could not produce testosterone. That is why it is crucial to understand the connection between cholesterol and testosterone levels.

How are cholesterol and testosterone related and what do they have in common?

  1. Both testosterone and cholesterol are insoluble in water-based fluids and blood
  2. Cholesterol and testosterone are similarly structured chemical steroids
  3. Cholesterol and testosterone require binding to other compounds for bloodstream transport
    • Cholesterol binds to liver produced proteins for bloodstream transport to cells and tissues throughout the body
    • Testosterone binds to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin for transport to testosterone androgen receptor cells

The connection between cholesterol and testosterone goes one step further – they influence one another in ways we will discuss below.

What is the difference between cholesterol and testosterone?

Some cholesterol comes from outside the body and is in the animal-based food we consume. Additional cholesterol comes from the liver and other organs. Testosterone is an androgen hormone manufactured by the testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands (smaller amount).

Why Low Testosterone Levels Increase LDL Cholesterol

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol you often hear about in reports. LDL cholesterol clogs the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. However, LDL cholesterol is not all “bad.” In fact, it is essential to understand the link between LDL bad cholesterol and testosterone.

First, you must understand the purpose of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and testosterone levels. It is HDL cholesterol that carries any excess LDL cholesterol to your liver for removal. What HDL takes is what the body does not require for hormone production.

The connection between cholesterol and testosterone levels can be explained like this:

  • The body receives cholesterol from diet and organs
  • Some of the cholesterol goes to hormone production
  • Excess cholesterol is taken by HDL cholesterol to the liver
  • Declining testosterone levels interfere with HDL functions
  • Excess LDL cholesterol builds up in the bloodstream, attaching to arterial walls

Individuals with testosterone deficiency and cholesterol level increases are at a higher risk of cardiovascular events due to clogged arteries. Since blood flow is necessary for brain and sexual organ functions, these areas may also be affected.

Why the Body Needs Cholesterol for Testosterone

On to the reason we need good cholesterol and testosterone production. Cholesterol is the starting point for many of the essential hormones that the body requires. It is referred to as a precursor substance or base for hormone production.

Here are the steps for cholesterol and testosterone production:

Cholesterol undergoes chemical conversion into pregnenolone – it then undergoes one of the following:

cholesterol → pregnenolone → progesterone → mineralocorticoids
↓                    ↓               ↓
17-OH-preg   →  17-OH-prog  →   glucocorticoids
↓            ↓              ↓
DHEA    → androstenedione  →   androgens → estrogens

As you can see, the connection between cholesterol and testosterone levels is clear: without cholesterol, you will not have many of the necessary hormones that body requires. Testosterone falls under the group called androgens – precursors to estrogens.

Maintaining proper cholesterol and testosterone synthesis is crucial for a healthy functioning body and mind.

Benefits of Testosterone for Cholesterol

There was a time when we were told to avoid dietary cholesterol, and testosterone levels plummeted in many people. Eggs and other foods became taboo. Now we know the importance of consuming healthy forms of dietary cholesterol.

According to a 2012 answer to a question by Dr. Richard Lee, the Associate Editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, ample evidence exists that as testosterone lives rise, the levels of cholesterol fall. Dr. Lee also mentions that evidence points to lower levels of cholesterol contributing to cardiovascular disease. [1]

Although the purpose of testosterone therapy is not to protect against cardiovascular disease, it may be an added benefit.

This connection between cholesterol and testosterone levels cannot and should not be overlooked. Cholesterol is crucial for healthy cell production. Testosterone stimulates red blood cell production in bone marrow.

We do not see testosterone therapy affecting adults with normal cholesterol levels. It is also important not to overdo testosterone as higher levels of this hormone can possibly lower HDL cholesterol. A hormone specialist will run blood tests and assess hormone levels before providing the appropriate course of treatment.

Current research shows us that it is not cholesterol affecting testosterone which causes problems in the body. Instead, it is an excessive intake of sugar that leads to many of the health concerns once blamed on cholesterol.

You can receive further information, blood hormone testing, and affordable hormone therapy by contacting HT Medical Center. We provide confidential consultations free of charge to men and women throughout the US.